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Narendra Modi has been swept back to power on a tsunami of support that has silenced his critics. There is no way one can substantially argue with a people’s verdict so decisive and unambiguous – having given a mandate to his party to govern alone, without even any help from its allies.

It is an endorsement of not just the policies of the Modi Government over the past five years but also that of its politics, seen as divisive by critics and a majority of the mainstream media in India and across the globe. Having returned Modi with a majority bigger than the one in 2014, the humble Indian voter has silenced all that criticism.

The Indian voter has also rejected, equally emphatically, the narrative sought to be peddled by the opposition that the NDA were dividers of the Indian people on religious and communal lines.

The opposition tried its best to form a ragtag band under the Mahagathbandhan banner to counter the Modi juggernaut based on that one flawed premise that has been so decisively rejected by the electorate.

Their defeat has been such an electoral disaster for all those parties including the Congress (with which they could not agree to work with), that none of them seems to be able to cobble the 54 seats needed to lay a claim for leadership of the opposition according to the rules.

As well as being based on a deeply flawed premise, the opposition campaign dripped with personal invective, wild allegations whose facts and figures were a moving feast and promises that were not only far from credible – like the UPA’s Nyay that promised Rs 72,000 annually to millions of India’s poor – but also simply did not stack up.

The result has left the opposition completely directionless and without many of their stalwarts because of their ignominious defeat. Which may be a good thing since that will hopefully pave the way for newer blood that will be more attuned to news ways in which the electorate thinks rather than the moribund style of old-world leadership.

While the result is great for the NDA, BJP and Modi’s supporters, it is not ideal purely from a democratic perspective. With no credible opposition to speak of, the winners will have a run of the government and will need to be far more responsible and mindful of the weakened checks and balances that an effete opposition will bring to the Lok Sabha.

Which brings great responsibility on the ruling NDA and its leaders, particularly Modi and his top aides to exercise greater restraint, equanimity and fairness to all Indians irrespective of their religious and political dispositions as the new government goes about rolling out its agenda.

Modi has said his government will take everybody forward, leaving nobody including his detractors and the opposition behind.

In doing that inclusively, he will have honoured the overwhelming mandate he has just received from Indian voters, for the second time in a row.

First appeared in The Indian Weekender dated 24 May 2019.